Fishbone diagram (cause and effect diagram)

This short guide describes the process of using a fishbone diagram to help uncover and visualise stakeholder perceptions of the root causes of a problem.

It is often used in conjunction with the 'Five Whys' technique.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kathy Castle.

Authors and their affiliation

Project Cubicle

Key features

A fishbone diagram is one of the seven basic tools of quality like a pareto chart or a scatter diagram.
It was introduced by Kaoru Ishikawa as a problem-solving tool. The diagram is named fishbone because of its appearance. It is a visual technique for performing root cause analysis. Fishbone diagrams improve decision making within the team.

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

Fishbone diagrams are quite helpful to detect the root cause of a problem. I have been using fishbone diagrams with my team to improve production for a long time. We hold meetings and brainstorming sessions to detect potential causes which prevent us to improve the product quality.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Fishbone diagrams are very easy to use. It is practical to create a team and brainstorm to detect problems. Thus the team members can participate in the solutions. 


Project Cubicle (2018). Fishbone Diagram (Cause and Effect Diagram). Retrieved from: